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Destrehan rallies to defeat Raiders

MATT ALLEMAN / L’Observateur / November 23, 1998

METAIRIE – The second round of the playoffs took place for Destrehan Friday night at Joe Yenni Stadium, where the Wildcats traveled to face the Rummel Raiders in regional play-off action.

The Raiders won each of these teams last two meetings, so for Destrehan it was a chance for redemption. And redeemed the Wildcats were at theend of the game, taking Rummel to overtime and getting the victory 24-17.

The win means Destrehan will face its second straight Catholic league team in a row next week as it travels to Tad Gormley Stadium to face Jesuit, the team the Wildcats defeated in week one 21-17.

The game at Gormley was the last thing on the minds of Wildcat fans as the first half ended with a score of 17-7 in favor of the Raiders. Hopeswere down for Destrehan, since this was a game many did not expect the Wildcats to win.

The first score of the game came early as on the third play of Rummel’s first drive Derron Parquet scored on a 56-yard touchdown run. The pointafter made the score 7-0 early. Shortly after the touchdown Rummel cameon strong again as kicker Christien Louviere hit a 37-yard field goal making the score 10-0.

Things did not look good for the Wildcats, but as they have done all season long Destrehan would not go down with out a fight. Senior running backTraun Smith broke loose on a 41-yard touchdown run with 2:36 left in the first quarter. The extra point was good, keeping Destrehan’s hopes up 10-7.

But on the very next possession for the Raiders a long drive kept momentum in favor of Rummel. Quarterback Daris Wilson scored on the12th play of the drive on a 5-yard run. The point after made the score 17-7 as the first half ended.

As has been the case for many of Destrehan’s games this year, the second half gods were again kind to coach Scott Martin.

“In the second half the kids came to play.” said Martin.The performances of two seniors, Wendell Smith and Traun Smith, made the difference on an offense held to minimal production in the first half.

Key completions from one Smith to the other helped set up kicker Ricky Rodriguez for a 29-yard field goal, which cut Rummel’s lead to seven.

Then it was Wendell Smith’s turn to take over as he scrambled 20 yards on a touchdown in which he ran over one defender. This followed by the pointafter tied the score at 17.

But let’s not forget Destrehan’s defense, which allowed only 87 yards of total offense in the second half. That helped make those key offensiveplays possible.

With :07 left to play Rodriguez lined up for a seemingly easy attempt at a 25-yard field goal. The kick was blocked with no return, ending regulationin a tie.

Overtime started with Destrehan on offense first. The first two playswere runs that gained 5 yards collectively. Now the Wildcats were facinga third and goal from the 5-yard line. Wendell Smith dropped back withgood protection and hit his favorite target, Traun Smith (no relation), for the score.

The point after put Destrehan in good standing at 24-17.

Rummel’s offense was not as fortunate. Rummel tried an incomplete passon first down. Second down brought success as running back H.J. Adamscarried the ball to the 5. On third and goal from the 5 the Raiders called anoption and the quarterback was nailed for a loss as Damien Richard made the stop for a 5-yard loss.

It was do or die time then on a fourth-and-goal from the 10, and the Raiders called upon Adams once again. As Adams received the pitch, onwhat looked like a sweep, he lost his footing and slipped. Since his kneewas down the game ended 24-17 with Destrehan advancing to the quarterfinal round of the 5-A state playoffs.

Wendell Smith had a monster second half, throwing nine times and completing seven of them for 104 yards and the overtime touchdown.

Traun Smith was his main recipient, catching five of those for 90 yards and the final touchdown.

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